Sunday Snippets

  • Wow! It’s been a whole month since I last blogged – I don’t think I’ve ever lapsed that long. And when I came in to do these snippets I thought it had been two weeks…

    playing in a hidey hole
    playing in a hidey hole
  • We’ve been exceptionally busy. There has been some behind the scenes things (in our family, not this blog) that have resulted in a no screen time when children are awake Monday – Friday, for any of us. This means no more blogging after school while they play. But overall we are a week in and I think it is a good change.
  • Along with the rest of the world we’ve had fun with the MSQRD app. This one hasn’t been deleted from my phone yet. Lot’s were deleted in the above mentioned screen reduction. Caleb loves it.IMG_5555
  • Caleb had the flu a couple of weeks ago. Poor sad boy. But he bounced back in time for Easter.
  • We totally slacked on Easter this year. Grandmas sent some small things, so that was it. I’m giving myself grace that there are some seasons of life I will be able to go all out, and others where I just can’t.


    • Boys in hats. That is all.IMG_5583
    • Simon is still playing chess on Fridays. We need to practice more at home. He’s struggling a bit because the teacher “asks him too many questions”. In order to understand that there is a strategy beyond knowing how to move the pieces Simon has to explain the consequences of each move. It’s mentally exhausting, but I think we’ve come to an agreement that there are questions for 20-30 minutes, then only playing. He earned a gold star. Last time the teacher told him he’d get a gold star, then at the end Simon asked for his star – only to find it was a symbolic star. So this week the teacher had brought a sheet of stars just for Simon. I thought that was sweet of him.IMG_5587
    • I have a full preliminary dissertation file. Meaning I have a file with everything that is coded so far and can start analysis. But I still need to code about 20 questions and have about seven hours of audio to transcribe. So far nothing is significant.
    • And just for fun Caleb singing. He only sings two songs. Jingle Bells and Let it Go.

    • And Simon, practicing for Pre-K graduation. Which I will miss for work travel. But this video is everything.


Santaland 2014 edition

As we do every year we went to Macy’s to see who I consider the “real” Santa. Simon is an old pro, this being his fourth! visit. It was funny though how he was so excited in the line, posing and looking and talking about Santa. Then when it was our turn, he ran to Santa’s house and got so shy and would barely talk. He did tell Santa he wanted Hiro, which he did get on Christmas morning.

This was Caleb’s first visit. He liked looking around, but when he met the big guy was mostly WTF?! Get me out of here. We got some cute picture, and bought some cute pictures. And another tradition covered.

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See 2011, 2012, 2013.

Family of Four

I had a lot of plans for this week. Instead, we had a baby!

Caleb_12hrs2_blogannounceThe whole experience was fantastic. Rob was awesome!

family_pic_CalebSimon got to come visit Monday afternoon when Caleb was about 12 hours old. I love this picture of his anticipation. We didn’t take any pictures of the actual encounter, but video to come.


Tuesday we got to come home – it’s so nice to be home.

IMG_1039Wednesday we braved the subway for our first double well child visit (2.5 years and 2.5 days). Simon is now done with vaccines until he’s 5 and his weight gain is still excellent. Caleb is still at birth weight – yay breastmilk and is great. He has a follow-up to check weight in two weeks. We also have a follow-up appointment at the hospital in 2 weeks to repeat the hearing test in one ear.

first_subwayThursday was a snow day and today is more of the same.

sweepinEventually I’ll get around to all of the skipped plans. For now we are doing lots and lots of this.



One year ago my grandma died. It’s kind of hard to believe it’s been a year. Living so far away means I didn’t see her all that much over the last decade, the loss isn’t so noticeable in the day-to-day. We went back for the funeral and one of the eulogies was given by my Uncle. I’ve been thinking about what he said on and off for a year.

He talked about how no matter where he lived or what happened that he always had a HOME with my grandparents. And now that she was gone, that sense of HOME was gone with her.

See, my grandparents moved to the family farm in 1960. My dad was born on that hill, and when I was 2 my parents bought a 5 acre plot of that farm and put a trailer for our family. When I was 7, we built our house. I grew up across the street from my grandparents, which was mostly a blessing – but a little “Everybody Loves Raymond” when they would call asking where we had been “so late,” you know after 6 pm, while in high school. But mostly it was great as a kid. We could walk to grandma’s any time we wanted. They were our sitters when my parents went out. They were HOME.

The reason this struck me so pointedly is that this is the uncle who moved away from the small town near the farm on the hill. My other uncle lived only a few miles away, but this one lived in Baltimore, and then the so far away (2.5 hours) city of Indianapolis before ultimately building a house on the land next to the uncle a few miles away the year before I went to college. My grandparents had the luxury of all of their children and grandchildren within a few miles and most of my grandma’s siblings and there children withing a few counties. But I moved away. It was expected in college, but then I graduated and didn’t move HOME. I moved half-way across the country to the biggest city I could. But I always had a HOME, and referred to the house on the hill.

My parents divorced and moved out of the house on the hill. They even moved to different cities. But Grandma still lived at HOME, and Madison is where I thought of when we talked about visiting family. But this past year, we have visited mom’s house or dad’s house. Both houses are very nice and it’s really the people we are visiting that  make it what it is, but it’s odd not having the feeling of going HOME. On the one occasion I was in Madison last spring when my nephew was born it was so weird to drive MY HOUSE and Grandma’s house and know that other people are living there.

I think that I and my parents always envisioned that the house on the hill is where my children would play on visits HOME. In some ways it was just a house, but in others it was so much more. I love my life in the big city. I even love our small apartment. But sometimes I miss HOME, and I wonder what kinds of feelings my boys will have about their childhood abode. Rob, only lived in his childhood home until middle-school, but it’s still the place he talks about.

Where do you consider your roots and HOME?

Renew: Slow Down and Savor

I’ve read a few really great Goals for 2014 posts. This isn’t that. It’s also not really a word of the year. Maybe more a mantra to live by. While I know that decisions made last year were the right ones at the time, as I said it was rough on our family for me to work as much as I did. It was great professionally and ultimately the investment we are making now in grad school is so that in the near-ish future I have a job I enjoy that pays actual money. But as good as it all was for me as a scholar it was rough personally. I am mentally, physically, and emotionally spent. I felt like most of the year I was being pushed by a freight train – or maybe an express engine with my heels dug in trying to slow down. I will never ever regret taking last June off completely.

While I have a good blog record of family fun it wasn’t without effort.  I wasn’t always present even when I was home always feeling the weight of what I “should” be getting done. As I enter 2014 and have six weeks or so to finish up some things before the new little man makes his appearance, I’m finding that I just don’t want to. There are grant and fellowship applications that I know are a long shot, so I wonder if I should even make the effort (I should and will for at least some). I have an undergraduate who I supervise who NEEDS her thesis by April 1, which really means before I disappear into a baby coma. A manuscript that should have been submitted last fall and is finally close. The loose ends for my fellowship that need to be taken care of and delegated to the right people. Most of this is in progress, some is non-negotiable (hello undergrad who can’t not graduate because of me), and some I’m just going to say no to.

I just can’t keep holding back the train as I try to slow down. I NEED to actually slow down. I’ve been working on saying no and I’m getting better at it. My mantra for 2014 is to slow down and savor. I want to enjoy the new born period. I want to enjoy my family. I want to not feel stressed and crazy. I want to be a better wife and friend. Slow down and savor – starting now.